ALTONA -- Altona Wind Park investors want a bit more data before that project moves ahead.

"It's just a slight delay in the financing," said Mark Lyons of Noble Environmental Power. "They just want to see more wind data than we've had time to collect at this point."

Producing that information will take a couple of months, he said, so the Altona project will be held up for that long.

There's no possibility this bump in the road could kill plans for the park, Lyons said.

"It's just a question of filling in all the blanks in the wind-resource story to get the investors comfortable," he said. "We'll get there."

When Noble first came on scene in the North Country, the wind-energy firm started off with historical data from a variety of sources, Lyons said.

"We did computer modeling around that."

Early on, a 50-foot meteorological tower was erected in the project environs.

"That provides some information about wind in that specific area," Lyons said, "but only at the 50-foot level."

Since then, taller measuring towers have collected data. Short-term results show fluctuation in the breeze, the project manager said, "But in the long term, there's a pretty steady flow."

And that's what the investors want to see, he said.

While wind information was gathered from about the same start point and in the same fashion for Noble's Ellenburg Wind Park and Clinton Wind Park in those Northern Tier towns, Lyons said investors of those projects are satisfied.

"I can't tell you what's different about Altona, except they just wanted more data," he said.

Super computers, he said, were developed for two reasons: to model nuclear explosions and to model wind and weather patterns.

"It's just very data-intensive," he said.

Otherwise, Noble, with all the permits it needs, is poised to launch full construction within a few weeks in both Ellenburg and Clinton, said Dan Haas, Noble's senior vice president, who's responsible for engineering, construction and operation.

Since early April, contractors have been working on the substation that will serve those two parks, located near the intersection of Route 190 and Duley Road and more or less straddling the line between the two towns.

Concrete is just being poured for that facility, Haas said from his office in Essex, Conn. Work has yet to begin on the Altona substation.

At present, about 25 Noble employees are on the job in the area, he continued, including safety technicians and subcontract managers.

"About a third are local hires," he said, noting about eight more positions are due for filling over the next several weeks.

Just now, too, Noble is finalizing selection of about a dozen contractors for various jobs that, Hass said, will be employing several dozen workers early on, ramping up to several hundred as the projects move forward.

He couldn't say, yet, whether any of the contractors will be local firms. First on the job, he said, will be Delaney Construction of Gloversville, which will build roads.

According to that firm's Web site, Delaney did substantial work on Maple Ridge Wind Farm in the Tug Hill region of the state.

Noble has put emphasis on hiring locally, Haas said.

"It's the nature of the construction business," he said. "You don't import people if you don't have to."

The first wind turbine won't touch the sky until sometime mid-summer, Haas said.

First will come construction of the road leading to a turbine site, followed by foundation work, both of which will take two to three weeks each.

"When that foundation is ready and cured (for about two weeks), we start the tower up," he said.

The "vast majority" of materials needed for construction are already at hand, Haas said.

"We're excited," he said of the imminent construction. "It's been a long time getting here."

smoore@pressrepublican.com

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